Photo of Sally, a FareShare Plus volunteering wearing high visibility vest & standing in the yard leaning on a trolley

Volunteer Spotlight : Sally, FareShare Plus

It’s Volunteers Week from 3-9 June and we couldn’t do what we do without our amazing team of volunteers. This week, we’re highlighting some of our volunteer roles to showcase the work they do:

Meet Sally, FareShare Plus Volunteer:

You hear about food insecurity and food poverty on the news. You read the statistics, but meeting these organisations and hearing about their amazing work makes you see it for real. This volunteering role keeps me grounded. I can go home after a day’s work, have a bath, and there’s food in the cupboard. –  Sally, FareShare Plus Volunteer

Sally, a retired primary school headteacher, has been volunteering for FareShare Greater Manchester for more than 3 ½ years. After her retirement, Sally was looking for a new purpose. She wanted to give something back.

In teaching, Sally saw the impact of food insecurity and poverty on not only the children but the parents too. Her school’s policy was that no child should begin the day without food, so it provided wraparound care with breakfast and afterschool clubs.

As a ‘Green Flag School’ it followed environmental guidelines for reuse and recycling, (food waste being one of those issues). Some of her pupils visited FareShare Greater Manchester on a school trip. They looked at the redistribution of surplus food and other operations at our warehouse.

Do something positive

Retiring in the middle of the pandemic, Sally felt that by volunteering for FareShare Greater Manchester, she could do something positive. She knew how hard it can be to enlist the help of volunteers in schools. Sally imagined it was hard for charities too. She met our head of volunteering, Liz, and says on the first day she knew, “I need to do this!”

Sally believes it was only natural that she should become a volunteer for FareShare Greater Manchester. We share the same ethos of supporting families and the wider community, combating food waste and education.

Volunteering here has been a complete change from her previous career. She moved from working in a school environment to warehouse work in all weathers. However, Sally, a FareShare Plus volunteer, really enjoys it. “I love meeting people. I enjoy chatting to the charities and organisations who come to FareShare Plus to collect the food. They come from all walks of life and different backgrounds. It’s fascinating to hear about the work they’re doing in their own communities. You only hear about the big charities on the news, but the work the grassroots charities are doing is so important.”

The benefits of volunteering

Sally’s previous teaching and management skills have been transferable to her current role in FareShare Plus. However, all volunteers receive full training before they begin. This training includes food safety, manual handling, and other aspects involved in the role. Sally says the encouragement volunteers are given is brilliant. “Lots of volunteers go on to secure paid roles both here at FareShare and elsewhere. It helps improve your CV and really boosts your confidence. Many people come to volunteer after being out of work for a time. It can be a stepping stone to something else.”

Another benefit for Sally was physical. “My fitness levels went up. Volunteering here two days a week meant I didn’t need to go to the gym!” She also says it puts a lot of things into perspective for her. “You hear about food insecurity and food poverty on the news. You read the statistics, but to meet these organisations and hear about the amazing work they are doing makes you see it for real. This volunteering role keeps me grounded. I can go home after a day’s work, have a bath, and there’s food in the cupboard. Not everyone is as fortunate as that.”

Sally’s service to FareShare Greater Manchester was recognised in 2023 in a special FareShare UK Volunteers Celebration. “I was honoured to be nominated for the FareShare UK Volunteer Awards last year for Leadership in Volunteering – and I won it! The FareShare Plus team was also nominated for an award and won.”

Do it!

If you are considering volunteering, Sally has this advice: “Do it! You need to be committed, but there’s flexibility to make the role work around you and your needs. Different personalities suit different jobs. The role can be tailor-made for you. I’m really sociable and love meeting all the customers. Other people prefer a job in the warehouse preparing the food for dispatch instead. You get out of it what you put in.”

She continues, “Come and work for someone who appreciates you! Our volunteers are well looked after. There are lunches, a cage of food if you need something for yourself, and lots of training. It gives you the confidence to push yourself out of your comfort zone, especially if you have not been working for a while.”

 

Volunteer with us

 

Sally, FareShare Plus volunteering

The food waste hierarchy calls for food to feed people first

Food companies are legally obliged to use food to feed people before sending to anaerobic digestion or for animal feed. We help them use their surplus to feed people first.